A major provider of mental health and social services in Illinois is laying off workers, closing a crisis center and eliminating services in response to the lack of a state budget.
Centerstone in Marion, Illinois will be making cuts which will affect services for a total of 700 clients.
“It is going to be critical and going to have a drastic effect,” CEO John Markley said. “I can talk about the number…700 clients we are talking about in this program and in the other ones and 39 staff. But the collateral damage that’s going to be done to our community is significant.“
“They don’t realize how important that is to someone like me,” Charlie Darnell, a recovering methamphetamine addict, said.
Darnell said she was released from federal prison back in May.
“You’re going to do what you have to do to survive, and I have four children at home I need to take care of,” Darnell said. “So if I don’t have this help, I’m going to do what I need to do to take care of me and my children…and if I can’t do the right thing, I’m going to do the wrong thing to make it.”
Darnell does use certain rehabilitation and guidance options offered by Centerstone which will be unaffected by the cuts.
According to a press release, the specific cuts are as follows:
In the coming fiscal year, we will eliminate several state contracts because of the risk involved. These contracts represent vital services in our communities, but we cannot sustain them in such uncertain times. This means, as of June 30, 2016, the following services will close:
Comprehensive Community Based Youth services (CCBYS) in Franklin, Jackson, Perry, and Williamson Counties;
Crisis Stabilization services at the Centerstone Crisis Center in Williamson County, a service which has saved our state more than $4 million in healthcare costs;
DMH Juvenile Justice services in Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, and Williamson Counties;
Homeless Youth services in Franklin, Jackson, Perry, and Williamson Counties;
Psychiatric Medication funds used in Calhoun, Franklin, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, and Williamson Counties;
Supported Residential services (one group home) in Alton; and
Teen Pregnancy Prevention services in Franklin County.
Additionally, Halfway House beds in Marion will be reduced.
No official "cuts" were voted on specifically by the state, but the now 11 month lack of a budget decision in Springfield has left Centerstone $6 million in the hole, and Markley said taxpayers will pay the price.
“We seem to be pawns in a very very political game,” Markley said. “So the state doesn’t have money…my first impression is ‘what can we do to save money?’ But this crisis center that we’re closing… just that one facility alone saves the taxpayers $4 million dollars a year because people are not reporting to the emergency room.”